Monday, July 26, 2004

foist day o' woik

My first day at EC.

It actually went better than I thought it would: I didn't have to wear a goddamn lab coat until the very end, and as far as I know, no students complained about my teaching. (Don't worry: I'm not down on my own teaching ability. You simply have to watch for complaints; Koreans are hard to please, and they don't always want the same thing in a teacher.)

The management is looking for a lab coat in my size. The lab coat I was forced to borrow today belongs to a co-worker who's brawny across the shoulders, but doesn't have my barrel chest. As has happened countless times when I've gone shopping for a sports jacket or suit, the lab coat bunched up under my armpits. One student, a girl in high school, giggled when she saw me. This is how I discovered that the ball-shrinking power of Hello Kitty also resides in a teen girl's laughter. We should bottle girl-giggles and bomb Pyongyang with them.

The hours did literally fly by, though, and not necessarily because I was enjoying myself: the schedule keeps you pretty damn busy. I was seeing student after student (fuck it; they're students on my blog, not learners) in a blur of faces. I had fourteen classes today. My two breaks, both a half-hour long, were spent skulking about the office. I didn't feel I had time for lunch.

Training prepped me well. You just follow the system, is all, and there's very little actual thinking or creativity needed, unless you're involved with free-talking.

My students today were all lower-level. Some were animated; some were sulky. Some had salvageable pronunciation; others sounded like they'd need a ton of work. I'm not convinced that EC's system is reliable enough to take a student from Level 1 to Level 6 (in theory, this is near-native fluency) in a year's time.

Then again, I'm not sure how many language teaching curricula can do this: my time at Korea University convinced me that people who manage to struggle through all six levels are, generally speaking, nowhere on par with people who "naturally" rate as competent Level 6es. Sometimes the best approach for advanced levels is the sloppy, "throw enough mud until some of it sticks" style only an immersion environment can provide. My own experience with French was along similar lines: I did extremely well in French in high school, then tested out of all language lab requirements at Georgetown. I plunged straight into 100%-target-language coursework and never looked back, and I think I learned plenty even though there wasn't any true systematicity. I took courses in French literature, French drama, French history and culture, and even a linguistics course in French. I completed my religion minor while in Switzerland, taking courses in Hinduism, "Science des Religions," Greco-Roman mythology, and Rwandan religion. A fairly haphazard cluster of subjects, but somehow I ended up gaining a pretty high level of fluency.

I'm bracketing my reservations about EC's curriculum, however. Why? Because I've chosen to focus, for the moment, on earning money and pulling my bad self out of debt. This means bowing low to the dictates of Mighty EC.

My name is Ash, and I am a slave.

Whore, more like. Butt-beast. Prison fuck. The gerbil in your ass, gasping its pitiful last. Just wait until I post that pic of me in a lab coat. First, my coat (whenever it finally arrives) probably won't fit. Second, it's not going to be white: the foreign teachers wear coats that, in the wrong light, appear almost baby-blue. When I put my co-worker's lab coat on today, my scrotum started leaping around and thrashing about in a furious attempt to escape the vicinity. My dick was screaming bloody murder. I had to clamp down hard to keep my ass from vomiting its opinion. Not that I blamed any of them.

But somehow, I got through the day. Now we crank up and do the same thing tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. And the next day. For a whole fucking year.

Once more unto my breach, dear friends...


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